Hack 53. Skin Your Device

Customize the appearance of your 7100 or 72xx series device using themes.

The older BlackBerry devices couldn't dream of being skinned there wasn't much to skin anyway! Those days of monochrome screens with very low resolution are gone. The new BlackBerry devices have great screens with a ton of colors and much higher resolution. These improvements allow customization for the display in ways that weren't even thinkable back in the days of the 850 data-only devices.

The 7100 and 72xx series devices support themes, which are similar to "skins" for other applications such as Windows Media Player and Winamp. By default, the alternate themes are not loaded on your device. You'll have to download them and install them with Application Loader.

5.4.1. Installing the Themes

At the time of this writing, there are four additional themes for your 7100 device in addition to the theme that it ships with. You can download the themes from the following URL: http://www.blackberrycool.com/bbthemes.zip.

Extract the zipped archive to a local folder and start Application Loader. Click on the Add button and browse to the directory where you extracted the theme files. Select the Themes.alx file and click Open, as shown in Figure 5-12. Click Next to install the additional themes to your device.

5.4.2. Changing Themes

Of course, now is the fun part. Go into your device's settings and choose the Theme option. You should see some new themes available in addition to the default theme that came with your device. Figure 5-13 shows the list of themes as they are displayed on a 7100g device from Cingular. The default theme has the "(List)" string on the end of its entry.

To change to a particular theme, just select it and use the trackwheel to choose Activate from the menu. Figure 5-14 shows the O2 theme that looks quite nice, although there are some reports that this theme slows some devices down noticeably.

Figure 5-12. Installing the themes

Figure 5-13. Additional themes on a 7100g

Figure 5-14. The 02 theme

Despite the ordinary name, many users who have upgraded from previous BlackBerry models will find the theme called Default most comforting, as it makes your 7100 appear almost identical to the older devices (see Figure 5-15).

Figure 5-15. The "Default" theme

This "themeability" was requested by carriers and really isn't fully supported by RIM. There is no documentation on how to create your own theme, and you can't download any themes from RIM's web site. The carriers wanted to be able to customize their versions of the devices.

BlackBerry Hacks
Blackberry Hacks: Tips & Tools for Your Mobile Office
ISBN: 0596101155
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 164
Authors: Dave Mabe

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